- The tourism industry has been devastated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and related travel restrictions.
- Cape Town Tourism is trying to help its members weather the storm by offering free membership for the rest of the year.
- It is estimated that the tourism sector in Cape Town has lost about R2 billion over the summer season due to lockdown regulations.
A recent impact report by Cape Town Tourism indicates that its members lost an estimated R2 billion and just under 12 000 jobs because of the impact of coronavirus lockdown regulations during what would traditionally have been its high season over the summer.
"This has been a tumultuous year for the tourism industry. Tourism businesses have closed, and many others stand on the brink of the same fate, while others are treading water, desperately trying to stay afloat. This has by far been the most challenging year that the industry has ever faced," says Brett Hendricks, chairperson of the Cape Town Tourism board and general manager of the Thebe Tourism Group.
It is with this in mind that Cape Town Tourism is offering a 100% free membership package to its "Classic Members" for the rest of 2021.
"We have heard the plight of our members and the industry and this is our way of giving back and supporting businesses when they need it most. As the pandemic continues to impact us negatively, we have come to understand the concerns around the future of our industry," says Hendricks.
"We need to continue to work together if we have any chance of rebuilding our industry and we know that this is a step in the right direction. Covid-19 hit our industry hard since March last year. It is deeply concerning. Those tourism businesses - which are still managing to survive - are grateful for the domestic market. Even though domestic tourism activities seem to [take place] more over weekends, it does help businesses to keep the lights on."
He is hopeful that the local industry can build on that from here.
"We have great things to offer domestic tourists. It is really the small and medium-sized members of Cape Town Tourism we want to try [to] help with marketing and exposure. Cape Town Tourism represents the industry in the whole of Cape Town. We have a wide reach," he says.
"I am confident that the industry will recover. It is also not just about tourists going to hotels. Remember there are many businesses that supply to the tourism industry."
Anita Hermanus from Aunty Nita's Tours has taken up the free membership opportunity.
"We haven’t been able to do a tour in months and months, which really has taken its toll on our finances. By making use of the Cape Town Tourism free membership for the rest of this year, we have the opportunity to still benefit from the association and the expertise offered," she explains.
"We are now able to re-budget, using the money we would have spent on membership in other aspects of our business. This membership offer has given us some breathing room."
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